I don’t think social media is really doing this. Rather, the mobile computing era has unleashed the worst of us all.
Social media was available first when we were transitioning from desktop to laptop. That’s when MySpace was dying, FB was nascent and Twitter was starting while Friendster was also dying.
Was social media as terrible then? No. Not necessarily the smartest stuff around but, nothing crazy like we see these days.
The biggest event for social media is us moving to phones.
In the past you had to sit in front of a computer to answer, leading you to introspection. Leading you to softening your typing.
Today you are drunk in public, your boyfriend is annoyingly slow at picking up takeout and you reply to that celebrity with the nastiest energy and most intense sarcasm.
That’s the shift. Of course, algorithms have been tuned for a while to reward people being nasty. But the real shift is us going mobile, which is True Goblin Mode.
No thoughts, only reactions.
Mobile computing has been destroying democracy, but also traffic (here in LA people will stay at stops for 5 seconds to finish watching a clip, I guess), romance, friendship, basic social interactions with strangers, and probably more.
The best way to use phones is to use them to read, only. Take pictures, and of course, organize with friends through text messages. Everything else basically, out.
People, you have to be assertive about this shit. And I know: you are completely addicted to your phone. That’s the issue and you need to work on that.
Please break up with your phone. Democracy and a bunch of human stuff would like that very much.